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Steve Kerr says he chose to be the next coach in Golden State because he wanted to win. Now.

May 20, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT

“I would much rather have talent and expectations than a low bar with a rebidding process ahead.”

If you wanted to know why Steve Kerr chose Golden State over the New York Knicks, that quote from him at his introductory press conference on Tuesday (streamed on CSNBayArea.com) was the clearest answer he gave. Yes, there is more money and more years than New York offered. But Kerr was clear that being on the West Coast close to his family (his daughter is at Cal, his son plays basketball for San Diego State, his other son is still in high school) matters a lot to him and was a big part of his decision.

But once he decided he was in he wanted the chance to win and that’s what Golden State offered — a roster that if well managed should have them in the thick of things in the West for the next decade.

“My view is not ‘we have to win 52 games next year’ or ‘we have to get to the second round,’” Kerr said of his goals. “My view is ’What are we going to do the next decade?’ ‘What are we going to do the next five years?’ My goal is to continue this upward trend the organization is on.”

Kerr was open that he comes into a pressure filled job with no coaching experience, but said this is something he has been building up toward. He said he had developed a philosophy, a plan for being a coach, he had done it over time, but was waiting for the right time to step into that spotlight.

“This is something I have thought about for a long time,” Kerr said. “I’ve been in the NBA 26 years, now, 15 as a player, eight as a broadcaster, three as a general manager, and the greatest moments of my career have come through team building. Whether it was going to the Final Four with my teammates in Arizona or being on champion teams with Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich, it is the magic of those experiences.”

Kerr said multiple times that he thought Mark Jackson had done a good job, and added during the interview process he wanted to know why they let a successful coach go. But he added that he felt a connection.

“I felt like I was choosing between two unbelievable opportunities,” Kerr said. “The Knicks, the brand speaks for itself, Phil Jackson, he’s been one of my mentors, the thought of him guiding me through my young coaching career was enticing. There were a lot of great things about the Knicks, he laid out a great plan….

“But when I sat down with the Warriors it just clicked. It was a better fit for me on a lot of fronts….

“The most important thing I’ve learned in sports is owner/GM/coach, that troika, that relationship between those three, is critical. The relationship between those three will determine how you get through the bumps.”

He thinks that is a fit in Golden State. Also, the roster is a whole lot better than the one in New York. Kerr said he has reached out to every player and spoken to all but a couple. While the players have not been public in showing support for Kerr — out of respect to Mark Jackson, who the players wanted to stay on — Kerr said the conversations have been good.

“The reception has been fantastic,” Kerr said. “One of the reason I wanted to come here was because of the success this team has had the last couple years under Mark, and the talent base that is here, and the character that is quite obvious on the roster.”

As you would expect of a polished broadcaster, Kerr was smooth and said all the right things during his press conference. The public face of the franchise side was never going to be the side Kerr struggled with.

Can he coach? Can he lead this team to the kind of consistency and level of play he talked about in the press conference? That is the real test and it starts soon (Kerr will continue broadcasting with TNT through the end of the Western Conference Finals).

  1. bougin89 - May 20, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    “I would much rather have talent and expectations than a low bar with a rebidding process ahead.”

    In New York, he would have been constantly rebidding. Over and over, rebidding, again and again. It’s a process. It would have been too much to take…

    • mlp420 - May 20, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      He could go to Golden State and never win a playoff round. Golden State is the 7th or 8th best team in the West. Yeah they won 50 but get in line, there’s nine 50 win teams in the West. Let’s see what the Knicks roster looks like after the summer of 2015.

  2. antistratfordian - May 20, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Be careful what you wish for, Steven. You may have just looked a gift horse in the mouth.

  3. odenxx - May 20, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    This guys really showing himself to be real piece of crap. You went for the money whore ! 25 million for a first-time coach?! Stop drinking the Kool-Aid on Golden State everybody! If curry goes down with that ankle injury ,there done! If bogut who gets hurt every year gets hurt again ,there done! They are soft where the rest of the West is much stronger .they will never be beyond 6th in the west.

    • bluburt - May 20, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      Interesting…

      So taking more money from a better team in a better situation is how we define a piece of crap now…?

      Good to know…

      • mlp420 - May 20, 2014 at 6:32 PM

        Better team? Yes. Better situation? In a conference with the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, Blazers, Grizzlies, etc? No way. Ask Dwight Howard how great his situation is right now.

  4. cbking05 - May 20, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    Kerr shot the 3 ball really well in the late 90’s, early 2000’s….that in itself proves he can coach !

  5. florida727 - May 20, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    I’m still waiting for the coach that steps up to the podium and says, “nah, not planning on winning any time soon; I think we’ll kick back for a few years, milk this thing for a few million personally, and we’ll get around to winning when we feel like it; this organization sucks and I don’t see turning it around any time soon.”

    Ticket sales should skyrocket, don’t you think?

  6. csbanter - May 20, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    Kevin Love is NOT going to Golden State for a bag of rocks so forget that David Lee and Draymond Green scenario. GS and its fans all 3 of them are salivating at the prosepct of Curry,Klay, and KLove raining 3’s all over the bay area. Not happening, but don’t despair Andrew Bogut is still in the building.

  7. ranfan12 - May 20, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    Shots fired lol

  8. cantonbound13 - May 20, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    He should have stayed with Phil. If he doesn’t do better than Jackson, he could be done for good.

  9. knightrider1755 - May 20, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Kerr was smart to get away from james dolan and his snake-bitten knicks team. Disaster with them is always just over the horizon. With all the unsuccessful seasons that the GSW have endured even they have won a championship since the knicks have.

  10. marcusfitzhugh - May 20, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    “My view is not ‘we have to win 52 games next year’ or ‘we have to get to the second round,’” Kerr said of his goals. “My view is ’What are we going to do the next decade?’ ‘What are we going to do the next five years?’

    Isn’t that why the owner said he fired Mark Jackson? The owner, Joe Lacob, said “We said we wanted to be better than we were last year, and a reasonable expectation for better is to be in the top four. And to obviously have home-court advantage.”

    Last year, GS won 51 games, finished second in the Pacific, and went to playoffs for the second year in a row. Before this year, the last time GS went to the playoffs for 2 years in a row was 1992. 2 years in a row before then? The 1970’s. In 67 seasons, they’ve won more than 51 games a grand total of twice. And now their owner expects 52+ wins, to win the Pacific, and to be in the western conference finals. While the new coach doesn’t think that’s important. Forget next year. Kerr is concerned with the “next decade plan”. What NBA coach thinks “NEXT DECADE”? The only coach with 10+ years on the same job is Pop in SA. Including current openings, 18 coaches have been on the job fewer than 3 years.

  11. Dogsweat - May 20, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Joe Barry Carroll Days are coming back.

  12. mogogo1 - May 21, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Just as long as Kerr fully realizes that is what the Golden State fans also expect–immediate improvement. This isn’t a case where the brand new coach can learn the craft while rebuilding a lousy team. They have the talent to win now. And if they don’t there’ll be nobody to blame but Kerr.

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